27 September 2007

What I Did Today (or, Manual Labour)

I actually hauled myself out of bed at 6:15 this morning, a non-school morning, to go print stuff in the lithography studios at school. I had a couple of assignments to work on for tomorrow's class and I wanted to get going before the hordes arrived. It's really nice to work in there first thing in the morning, even though I am not remotely a morning person. Here's one of the presses (not the one I was using today, but pretty much the same except a little smaller):

My first task was to print my aluminum plate, which I've had ready to go for about a week. Because it's just a thin sheet of aluminum, it has to sit on a plate support to go through the press. Here's the plate all inked up and ready to run a proof:

It came out really well, although there was one spelling error and one backwards "s" (it comes from writing backwards, which I'm actually pretty good at, but it's easier to make mistakes). I'll be able to correct the errors later, fortunately.

Once that was done, it was on to working on a colour reductive print, this time on a stone instead of a plate. The idea is to make an image and print it in one colour, then remove parts of the image, print in another colour, and so on. The assignment is to use at least three colours. My idea is to do the three colours, and then use my aluminum plate to print black over top (or maybe a very dark brown). Here's the stone inked up in the first colour, a mustardy yellow (it looks green because it's rather on the transparent side, and there's still black ink in the stone that refused to wash out, even with the stronger solvent):

It started out well, but then . . .

That black ink that was still in there? It stayed put all though the newsprint proofs. Then as soon as I started cover stock proofs, the black started to come out. Not a lot, just enough to make the yellow look a bit dirty, which doesn't really matter with the image in question, so I kept going. Then I noticed some weird embossing on the rag paper prints. I checked the stone. There had started to appear little areas where the surface of the stone seemed to be caving in slightly. Oh, that can't be good.

So I kept going through 5 rag paper copies. Then I was afraid to go any farther in case the stone broke or something. I had intended to do 6 and then if there was time move on to the next colour. Instead I rolled up the stone in black ink and gummed it down to save for later--after I show the weirdness to my teacher and find out if it's still okay to use.


Rowena Hart said...

Wow! It looks like you're channeling Leonardo da Vinci in these prints. Very cool.

I love seeing your printing equipment and your in-progress assignments. It's absolutely fascinating.

Niko said...

My favourite Leonardo works are the diagrams in his notebooks--flying mahines, giant catapults, etc.

I've been meaning to take pics of school and the stuff I do there since I first came here--only two years later and I get around to it . . .